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Order inquiry into GST evasion in Delhi: LG writes to CM

Updated on: 20 February,2024 07:43 AM IST  |  New Delhi

Saxena advised the chief minister to direct the finance minister to hold a detailed inquiry into the matter and assess the root cause of such tax evasion

Order inquiry into GST evasion in Delhi: LG writes to CM

Arvind Kejriwal. File Pic

Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on Monday wrote a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal "advising" him to ask the finance minister to conduct a detailed inquiry into alleged Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion in the city. In a statement, the Delhi government condemned instances of tax evasion and said that despite its efforts to develop a software to address the problem, a proposal to this effect has been "languishing among bureaucratic offices for almost a year".

In his letter to Kejriwal, Saxena said Delhi has achieved the "inglorious distinction" of recording the highest tax evasion in the country. In all, 483 "bogus firms" were detected which evaded Rs 3,028 crore of tax, he said. "It is indeed dubious that the capital of the country tops the list of tax evasion amongst all states and union territories, with the one on the second place behind Delhi by as much as Rs 827 crore. This is a serious matter in which the possibility of collusion of officials in the GST department cannot be ruled out," the LG said.

Saxena advised the chief minister to direct the finance minister to hold a detailed inquiry into the matter and assess the root cause of such tax evasion. "This not only reflects poorly on the state of tax governance in the national capital but also results in a huge loss to the public exchequer. "This resource could have been meaningfully utilised for investments in public interest," the LG said.

A Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs report released in January highlighted the issue of "bogus registrations and fake invoices" in the country, he said. The report for the third quarter brings out "shocking" facts about the extent of tax evasion prevailing in Delhi, he said, referring to the alleged GST evasion. "I trust that you will personally take interest in the matter and apprise me of the efforts being made to tighten the tax administration in the city," Saxena said in his letter to Kejriwal.

In its statement, the Delhi government said it vehemently condemns any instances of tax evasion and is unwaveringly committed to enforcing strict compliance with tax laws. The strictest possible action will be initiated against the violators, it said. The Delhi government said it was "dismayed" that despite its efforts at proactive collaboration with IIT Hyderabad to develop a software targeting tax evasion and to improve revenue collection, the proposal has been languishing in bureaucratic offices for almost a year.

A full year has passed since the initiation of the proposal in February last year. This delay has only happened because of the GNCTD Amendment Act, it said. "It is imperative that we collectively prioritise upholding the integrity of the tax system and safeguard the interests of the citizens of Delhi," the statement said.

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